Interview with Michelle Urban of Marketing 261

“Marketers today must be part artist, part scientist” says Michelle Urban from Marketing 261. In that small phrase, she packs a lot of punch, as also what the future holds for marketing.

From the days when marketing meant sending out fancy ads and offering great discounts, it has evolved into a craft, a complex profession with science and art in almost equal measures. Internet and its metrics and tools of measurement are fast making marketing an exact science.

On the other hand, the unprecedented changes that technology keeps bringing in our lives keeps marketing from becoming a predictable, hum-drum activity.

We spoke to Michelle to understand what she thought of brick-and-mortar businesses embracing the internet, AI, executive buy-in and a lot more.  Here goes: (Scroll down for an infographic.)

 

Marketing261-Michelle-Urban

We hear Content is King so often. In a crowded marketplace, how do you suggest bringing readers to your blog when everyone is producing a lot of content and when readers’ attention span is continually shrinking?

Don’t write for the sake of writing. Write only for your target audience. Write about how they can work through their challenges, pain points, and obstacles. Write about how they can reach their goals and how they can be more successful in their job.  Give them useful and practical content.

Write about how they can reach their goals and how they can be more successful in their job.  Give them useful and practical content.

If your readership is quickly skimming your content and bouncing off, your content is not geared towards their needs. When it’s not relevant or interesting chances are readers are not going to engage or return back. Make your content inspiring and educational to your target audience.

There are still a large number of successful, brick-and-mortar businesses that haven’t embraced the digital space. How do you think they should go about building their brand online and make sure their voice is heard, especially if even their customers aren’t frequent on the internet?

In this day and age, it’s silly for anyone NOT to have a website. Website show credibility and when done correctly, social credibility. All websites should be optimized for mobile and local search.

What are the three skills you rate as most important for a digital marketer in today’s world?

1. Be resourceful
2. Be part artist AND part scientist.
3. Be a risk taker

1. Be resourceful
2. Be part artist AND part scientist.
3. Be a risk taker

Businesses have begun investing in digital marketing, but there’s still some resistance when it comes to paying for tools and services that don’t directly lead to marketing  (e.g. SEO tools, email verification, analytics tool etc). How should marketers go about getting top-level executive buy-in for such matters?

Whether a marketer is asking for new tools, to sponsor an event, invest in new programs, or double down on an existing channel, the best way to get buy-in is by letting the metrics do the talking. Break down how the line item is going to help reach the company goal.

Executives speak one language and that is revenue. Provide the details that support the positive ROI. If you cannot show this, chances are you don’t need it.

Executives speak one language and that is revenue. Provide the details that support the positive ROI. If you cannot show this, chances are you don’t need it.

For the few industries that don’t expect too much of business coming from online inquiries (e.g. heavy engineering) in the next few years, how do you suggest they should go approach their online marketing efforts?

Your brand matters – bottom line. In today’s day and age, your brand needs to expand to the web in some way shape or form. If you’re in a field that is not web forward, chances are a potential buyer is going to be Googling something pertaining to your brand – the owners, the investors, the competitors. Having an online presence, like a website, can show credibility and social proof.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is fast becoming a threat to many professions. How do you think marketers and freelancers can tackle that?

I can see many marketers using AI to increase their productivity. AI algorithms can help automate the repetitive tasks that many freelancers do on a weekly or monthly basis. This leads to increase productivity, which saves time and money.

Do you think customer loyalty will be a realistic goal to pursue over the next few years, given the enormous competition everywhere?

Yes, without a doubt. Companies should put their customers as #1 priority. This means building meaningful and lasting relationships with your customers and users.

Companies should put their customers as #1 priority. This means building meaningful and lasting relationships with your customers and users.

So even if they move away from being your customer, they can still help to promote your brand positively due to the great experience they had while engaging with your product/service. Always leave the door open for your customers to return to you quickly.

Infographic on marketing

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About Michelle:

Michelle Urban is the founder of Marketing 261, a marketing shop for tech startups and small businesses. With a hands-on, get-it-done attitude, she and her team focus on executing measurable plans to get real results. For over 16 years, she’s built scalable marketing programs for demand creation, lead generation, customer advocacy, and engagement. A few of her clients include productboard, Rancher Labs, Layer, BetterManager, and more.

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